The word “Nintendo” is virtually synonymous with video games, even in the age of PlayStation and Xbox. It’s been that way since the late 1980s, when Nintendo took over from Atari as the king of video game companies. In 1988, the company began publishing Nintendo Power, which is arguably the most iconic video game magazine of all time, even though the last issue, #285, was published more than a decade ago.
In our upcoming Nintendo Showcase Auction, we’re offering more than 30 different issues of the publication, including a beautiful 9.2 copy of #1 featuring the highly recognizable Super Mario Bros. 2 cover art with clay versions of Mario and Wart. We’ve waxed rhapsodic about the cover art for Nintendo Power #1 many times in the past, so we figured it was time to put the spotlight on the aesthetic qualities of some other noteworthy issues.
Without further ado, here are 10 issues of Nintendo Power in our upcoming sale that would look incredibly cool as wall art or a shelf decoration in any gamer’s office, library, or Room of Doom.
When Ninja Gaiden hit the NES in 1989, gamers were startled by its brilliance. The hack-and-slash platforming action was fast, frenetic, and fun, not to mention difficult. Further, the cinematic cutscenes were a revelation for home console gaming. Like the Castlevania II and Zelda II issues before it, Nintendo Power #5 features an actual human being on the cover instead of an 8-bit or cartoon representation. Ryu Hyabusa, the protagonist from Ninja Gaiden, appears ready for action, with a city skyline, mountains, and setting sun in the background—quite the visual!
For many gamers who grew up with the NES, Maniac Mansion was their first foray into the point-and-click graphic adventure genre. The game, which was heavily promoted in print and sold well, received the Nintendo Power cover treatment with issue 16. The cover depicts a Claymation-style house with characters and light—the setting is nighttime–emerging from the windows and doors. The game is non-linear and challenging, making the magazine, which featured maps of the rooms within the mansion, invaluable for many players.
Imagine if you could have ridden your pet dog like a horse when you were a kid—how cool would that have been!? That’s the vibe we get any time we see Mario essentially riding horseback on Yoshi, his lovable dinosaur pal. The cartoon-like cover for Nintendo Power #28 captures the playful vibe of these iconic characters well. The issue spotlights Super Mario World, where Yoshi makes his first appearance. Speaking of firsts, this was the first issue of Nintendo Power to feature a Super Nintendo game on the cover!
The cover for Nintendo Power #31 features an awesome image of Samus, the female protagonist of the Metroid series. Looking as though she could take on an entire alien armada by herself, she strikes a dynamic pose, appearing ready to unleash bombs, ice beams, spider balls, and wave beams at her unsuspecting foes. The mag showcases Metroid II: Return of Samus for the Game Boy, the first game in the series released for a handheld system. The colors of the figure match that of the magazine title, which is a great look.
“Felix the cat, the wonderful, wonderful cat; Whenever he gets in a fix, he reaches into his bag of tricks…You’ll laugh so much your sides will ache; Your heart will go pit-a-pat watching Felix the wonderful cat.” Felix the Cat is a terrific cartoon, and the NES game is fantastic as well. Gameplay loosely resembles Super Mario Bros., but Felix can indeed use a variety of tricks from his magic bag. For fans of the IP, we can hardly imagine a nicer display piece than Nintendo Power #40, featuring Felix’s patented smile.
The dynamic cover for Nintendo Power #41 captures the fun, whimsy, and competitive nature of Super Mario Kart, the first game in the incredibly popular multiplayer racing series. An imposing Bowser, throwing a banana peel, perhaps the most memorable weapon in the series, is shown in the lead, followed by Toad, Donkey Kong, and Mario. This alignment was a surprising choice by Nintendo since you’d think they’d put Mario in first place, but it looks fantastic having Bowser as the dominant figure.
While media tie-ins don’t always work out so well, we’ve been huge fans of Mickey Mouse video games since the 16-bit era. Mickey Mousecapade for the NES was solid, but we really love the games for the following generation of consoles, including The Magical Quest Starring Mickey Mouse for the Super Nintendo. Mickey can don different costumes in the game to give him abilities, including a wizard and a mountaineer, and the nicely rendered cover for this issue shows him in his firefighter outfit. This lets him not only put out fires with the powerful stream of water but also move certain types of blocks.
Star Fox hero Fox McCloud strikes a confident pose on the cover of Nintendo Power #47, which features a 12-page article on the game inside. The first title in the popular sci-fi shooter series starring anthropomorphic animal pilots, Star Fox was created by Donkey Kong, Mario, and Zelda mastermind Shigeru Miyamoto. While Star Fox 64 for the Nintendo 64 is widely regarded as a better game, it wouldn’t exist without this groundbreaking Super Nintendo title, which used the vaunted Super FX chip to produce 3D graphics during a time when 2D games were the norm.
Earlier issues of Nintendo Power tend to hog the spotlight when it comes to collector interest, but you’d be wise not to overlook #125, which features Pokémon Yellow Version: Special Pikachu Edition on the cover. You might need a Master Ball to snag this issue because this is our first time offering it, and fans of the property are a devoted bunch. The mag will likely receive interest from Pokémon card, cartoon, and video game fans, as well as Nintendo Power collectors looking to fill a hole in their collection. As of this writing, this is the highest-rated copy of just three that CGC has graded.
Some of us here in the Heritage offices are still playing Kirby and the Forgotten Land for the Switch, the latest game in the popular Kirby series. In fact, we also return to the classic Kirby titles released for the Game Boy, NES, and other classic consoles from time to time. Nintendo Power #134 features an oldie but a goodie: Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards for the Nintendo 64. It was the first game in the series to feature 3D graphics as well as the first to use Power Combos, which let players mix powers to create more powerful ones. Think pink and bid on this lot!